Monday, April 1, 2013

3/27 -3/28 "Creeks and Tailwaters...Road Tripping with Joe"

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After looking at the forecast this past week , Joe and I decided to disappear for a couple of days and see what kind of trouble we could get ourselves into. Winters been hanging on for too long now and I just can't escape the feeling that I should be out taking full adavantage of every sunny , warm day we have. It was a last minute decision type of trip so we departed a little later than normal on Wednesday morning after loading up the truck. I don't know about you , but I have a bad habit of needing to pack enough shit for a week even when I'm only gonna be gone for two days!
Our first destination was a small wild trout stream that I hadn't fished in way too long , mainly due to the drought we experienced for most of last year which kept me away.
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We pulled into the empty parking lot about 10:30 and I quickly got the two weight ready for some action. The sun was trying to break through the clouds and the temperature was already pushing past the fifty degree mark by the time we made it streamside. Spring like weather and an empty parking lot would have been enough to make the day a success for me , but after a few casts in the first hole things got even better.
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The fish in this little stream are some of the prettiest wild rainbows I've ever had the pleasure of catching , and to my great relief they were still swimming around and as beautiful as ever.
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We didn't work at the fishing too hard , making time to sit streamside and just enjoy the beautiful day , taking in Mother Natures signs of Spring that were evident all around us.
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We made our way back to the truck after a couple of hours and stopped for a quick lunch break. No gourmet camp food on this outing , we'd have to settle for roughing it with some homemade fried chicken and hot pickled okra (washed down with a cold beverage , of course).
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The warm sun on my shoulders felt so good that I was tempted to stretch out on the tailgate and take a siesta after lunch , but I was still itching to check out the rest of the stream that I hadn't seen in so long...the nap would have to wait.
After moving upstream to a new location we hit the trail again , Joe chasing tree rats around every corner and me keeping an eye on the creek for fishy looking spots that I didn't dare walk past without a cast or two.
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Two happier individuals you would've been hard-pressed to find on this afternoon.
I didn't land any of the larger fish that I've seen in these waters before , but I was no less content playing around with some of their smaller brethren. What these fish lack in size they more than make up for in sheer beauty and will to fight.
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We finished up the second stretch of water sometime late in the afternoon and decided to head a little further South and find somewhere to pitch a tent for the night. We had a couple of options all within an hours drive but decided on the closest tailwater about thirty miles away.
Camp setup was quick and painless , we only drug the shit out of the truck that we actually expected to use , which wasn't much.
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After everything was done we made our way down to the river to check things out before trying to decide what to do about dinner.
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From the looks of it they were running two units and the extra water had most of the other fishermen chased off , the place looked empty except for a few individuals standing at the hatchery outlets. I was tempted to wet a line , but after checking the time I decided to opt for dinner instead. With any amount of luck the corps would keep the water off for me tomorrow since they ran it today , yeah right!
While I had thrown in the cookstove and some last minute grocery items that I could whip up for a quick meal , I was feeling lazy this particular night and chose to visit my favorite BBQ joint in town instead. This joint has good que , but being from KC I can get plenty of that anytime I want. What this place does do exceptionally well is catfish , big ole fillets deep fried to a golden color with all the sides.
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If you're ever in Branson and looking for a good place to grab a bite , this place would be at the top of my suggestion list.
After stuffing my face and rolling myself back out to the truck we headed back to camp for the evening. Normally , sitting around a big campfire would have been in order for the night hours , but unfortunately the little c-store where I planned to pick up some firewood had closed down sometime during the past off-season.
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With nowhere else to get wood in the immediate area I decided that just kicking back in the tent with a good book didn't sound all that bad anyway.
The next morning when I awoke my first course of action was to call SWPA and get the Taneycomo predicted generation for the day. I almost couldn't believe my generation all day. Knowing that the crowds would start filtering back in with the water off I quickly took down camp and stopped off at the office to pay my site fee before heading down to the river. It was just after 7:00 when I pulled into view of the river and noticed there was only one other fisherman in sight.
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I had a feeling that would change pretty quickly so I hurriedly got ready and we took out for the lower section where nobody was at yet. With a midge pattern as my point fly and a size #20 scud for a dropper , I made my first cast into the current seam ten feet from my feet , and hit the first fish of the day. I think my second fish came on the third cast...and so on and so on.
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In all honesty the fishing was just stupid easy. Granted , I had chosen one of the better runs to start off in so I expected some instant gratification but I guess in my recent absence I'd forgotten just how fast and furious the fishing could be on this piece of water. That being said , they were just stocker rainbows who probably hadn't been in the river long enough to change their mailing address yet. I'm by no means implying that I didn't enjoy myself , because I most surely did. Anytime you can fish a popular tailwater like this one and have it mostly to yourself and be catching fish on almost every drift to boot , that's a great day in my book.
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Joe and I moved around a little , taking advantage of the lack of people and fishing several spots until around 10:00 when a few other fishermen started to show up. We put on a little clinic for another hour or so , until eventually a couple of other fishermen started crowding us a little too closely so we decided to take a lunch break in hopes that they would thin out a bit.
After lunch we moved downstream a little farther and got into more fish on the same setup. I really don't think I made 10 casts in a row all day without catching a fish or at least hooking one. I popped off one good rainbow , maybe 17 inches , but I didn't see or catch anything of any size all day long. After seeing the colors and un-blemished bodies of the wild trout on the previous days outing I couldn't even bring myself to snap many pictures of the trout I'd been playing with all day. Kind of like the fat girl you don't want your friends to see you with , but she's just too much fun to quit hanging out with anyway!
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We fished until the middle of the afternoon , when the poor slobs that had spent all morning with their wives walking through craft shops filled with hillbilly trinkets began showing up. I don't mind sharing the river with fellow fishermen but when folks start crowding me out of my spot I've had enough.
One last last fish and we called it a trip , a very good one at that. Joe took his place in the backseat and was snoring before we even hit the highway out of partners are all alike!!
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  1. Great read! Loved all of the pictures. Joe looks like a great fishing buddy.

    1. Thanks Justin...He's the best , without a doubt!

  2. Absolutely loved this post. Not bad fishing in my humble opinion. Give Joe a "good boy" for me.

    1. Thanks Howard...Bad and Fishing are two words which should seldom , if ever , be used in the same sentence together. Don't you agree??
      I gave Joe a scratch on the ears for ya....

  3. Once again, what a great trip. I think I like your trips with Joe the best. Great photos. Those wild rainbows are wonderful. Sorry about the "poor slobs that had spent all morning with their wives walking through craft shops filled with hillbilly trinkets." Ha! That made me laugh. I'm just glad you and Joe aren't one of them.

    1.'s always nice to get away , just Joe and myself on a small stream somewhere. Like you , they're some of my favorite trips of the entire year.
      Glad you liked the "Hillbilly Trinket" comment...just had to throw that one in!!

  4. You have a great companion for your trips.
    The book is also a good read.

    1. You're absolutely correct Alan..he's the best fishing partner and friend a guy could ask for.
      I only just started the book that night in the tent , I enjoyed the first couple of chapters and look forward to finishing it and seeing if the author has written anything else on the subject.

  5. Looks like you guys had a great time! Enjoyed the pics, and the food made me that much more hungry.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment...glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. Thanks for letting me enjoy the trip vicariously! Great Post and fantastic photos! Beautiful rainbows! Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks! That stream is one of our favorites for sure.
      Glad you enjoyed reading about the trip.

  7. I repeat: The coolest dog in the world. Great post, turns out I had two work buddies from Columbia down there that Thursday. One was probably the other guy you saw at 7:00, the other probably fit the "poor slob" category! Both are new to Taney so I hooked them up with some of Mr. B's CWTS flies and they had great luck, especially on their timing since Thursday was the first day of no generation that week. (Yes, I spend too much time at work studying the fishing that I'm not doing)
    Glad to see the no-name blue ribbon stream is looking so healthy again. We needed that rain

  8. Thanks Dave , I'll be sure to tell Joe...although I think his head might be getting a little big from all of the attention he gets when we're out on the water!
    Those guys couldn't have planned it any better from what I saw , the fishing was non-stop action on all the usual stuff in all the usual places. I was a little surprised that I didn't see the man himself down there with a client , must have been out in the boat that day.
    The creek looked good and fished likewise , I just hope it stays that way for awhile , it always pains me to see that place practically dry up during extended dry periods.